Who will bite first, the U.S. or Iran?
15:39 | 05/ 04/ 2007
MOSCOW. (RIA Novosti political commentator Pyotr Goncharov) - The world is waiting for April 6, when the United States supposedly plans to launch Operation Bite against Iran.
Washington has accumulated the required forces in the region: two task groups in the Persian Gulf, including the aircraft carriers USS Dwight Eisenhower and USS John Stennis, four nuclear submarines, two dozen cruisers, and more than 400 sea- and ground-based aircraft, including Stealth planes that will allegedly carry out the greater part of the task.
The approved targets are the Natanz uranium enrichment facility, the Isfahan nuclear research center, the Araq heavy-water plant, the Bushehr nuclear power plant, air force and naval bases, air defense centers, and command and control headquarters.
The plans for a sneak attack are said to include a deceptive maneuver: the nuclear-powered carrier USS Nimitz left San Diego last Monday and is heading for the Gulf, where it is expected to replace the Dwight Eisenhower in mid-May. According to the logic of a lightning war, everyone will be waiting for the arrival of the third carrier, and so the attack, when it comes, will be a surprise.
On the other hand, the operation may not begin on April 6, despite the "telling signs" detected mainly by Russian military experts and the General Staff. One of the reasons is that there is no time left for the U.S. to speak about the "inevitability" of confrontation and warn Iran of the impending doom. I am referring to the requisite "demoralization stage," which is not part of the rules accepted in the civilized world. The Pentagon usually carries out pre-war demoralization preparations because they can reduce potential casualties.
So, will there be a war, and if so, when will it begin?
Tehran can avoid the war if it revises its attitude to its nuclear program and its policy in the region, where it has been trying to position itself as the center of Islamic civilization. However, this will happen only if President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his team lose power, which is improbable.
Some pin their hopes on Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, nicknamed the Pistachio King because he was born into a wealthy pistachio growing family, who keeps his millions abroad and who was written off after being defeated by Ahmadinejad. However, he topped the poll in last December's elections to the Expediency Council.
The Council has the authority to mediate disputes between parliament and the Council of Guardians, and serves as an advisory body to the Supreme Leader, making it one of the most powerful governing bodies in the country.
Experts believe that Rafsanjani may propose discussing the expediency of changing Iran's nuclear and foreign policies.
According to another scenario, after the UN Security Council approves tougher sanctions on Iran, the U.S. will opt for a unilateral blockade of the country. If this happens, Tehran might take steps that would create a pretext for a U.S. military operation.
So far, it is Iran that is doing everything to prod the United States towards a war. I am referring not only to its nuclear program and nuclear ambitions as a whole, but also to its anti-Semitic policy and the anti-Israel speeches of its leaders. In particular, Ahmadinejad has spoken of the need for Israel to be "wiped off the map." Tehran also has a completely negative approach to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and is providing financial and political assistance to extremist Islamic groups in the Middle East.
That policy is spearheaded mainly against the U.S. and its interests in the region. It would not be wise for Washington to overlook Tehran's potential in the region and its claim to the role of a regional superpower. It might as well leave the region, which I don't think it will ever do.
On the other hand, Tehran may be contemplating a pre-emptive "bite," which would only mean that the numerous deliberations about the "April 6 sneak attack" have reached their goal.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.